Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue
Robert Tregoning and Stef Murphy
Bloomsbury Publishing

Imagine your reality is a dystopian one wherein those in power have decreed that everything must be the colour blue. Imagine too that you are a child who loves yellow growing up in such a place. That’s how it is for the boy protagonist in this powerful story and as a result he has become indoctrinated with the idea that to be a yellow-lover is bad, so much so that he dare not even tell his Dad about his secret.

One day when participating in a collection of all things not blue to await collection by the refuge disposal crew, the boy discovers a tiny yellow rubber duck. This he stashes in his school bag. Back home he hides the duck away in the cupboard with all his other yellow things and then sits down to dinner with his Dad. How he longs to tell Dad of his find. That night the boy retrieves his duck carefully and then in an act of brave defiance he liberates all his treasures …

When he hears footsteps approaching, the boy fears the worst, but his Dad’s reaction is both surprising and reassuring. Perhaps being a lover of yellow is acceptable. Thus begins a chain reaction and before too long, change is afoot until everyone feels safe to be true to themselves in a glorious rainbow coloured world.

Would that this were so throughout our own world so that everybody can be fearlessly proud of who they are.

Robert Tregoning’s powerful, sensitive rhyming story grew out of his own experience of growing up gay in the 1990s under Section 28 law, which didn’t disappear from the UK statute books until early this century. Stef Murphy’s equally powerful illustrations capture both the fear and the liberating feeling of joy, not only of the boy but also of the book’s diverse cast of characters.

Love yourself no matter who or what you love is a crucial message that children need as soon as possible. Sharing a special picture book such as this one is a great place to start.